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Solar energy is becoming increasingly important due to the depletion of natural resources, unfavorable climatic change, and increased energy use. It is one of the most profitable business endeavors with strategic planning and technical expertise in solar energy and the installation of solar panels.

In terms of infrastructure, industry, residential and commercial construction, Maharashtra has experienced significant growth. The only way to meet the state’s growing energy demands is to harvest and produce power using solar energy.

Starting a solar power business requires extensive research and a solid understanding of the industry. Every state’s solar energy plans and policies are unique. To start a business in Maharashtra, you must first learn about the state’s rules, subsidies, and operational procedures. The Maharashtra government has issued legislation to encourage the use of solar energy through the installation of solar rooftop systems.

According to the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission’s (MERC) recent rules, the installation of a net metering system connects it to distribution companies’ grids. Educating people about policies and how they might benefit people or businesses is an important component of the solar panel business plan.

About Solar Policies of Maharashtra

Maharashtra’s Integrated Non-Conventional Energy Generation Policy 2020 went into effect on December 31, 2020, and will last until March 31, 2025. In terms of solar, the strategy aims to add 12.9 GW to the currently existing 1.9 GW7 by FY25. As a result of this capacity development, the state will shift from being dominated by the wind to being dominated by solar energy. There are no extra commitments indicated in the policy because the 12.9 GW target is in line with the Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) targets set for MSEDCL8 by MERC for FY 2024-25 (i.e., Solar RPO target of 13.5%).

While explicit targets for some project categories (energy storage, PV for EV charging, and hybrid projects) exist, they are not ambitious enough to significantly alter the capacity picture or drive investment in these areas. The aim for solar installations installed for EV Charging, for example, is merely 50 MW. Given that each bus is charged with a 150 kW DC charger, such capacity can only charge 330 e-buses at a time. Apart from that, the project developer/investor must possess the land, thereby limiting participation.

The target breakdown in the Figure shows that utility-scale projects are still the priority (10 GW).

Maharashtra Solar Market Analysis

As a result of dropping RE costs, the state has taken the progressive step of not providing any subsidies for solar project investment. Furthermore, the electricity duty rebate for the first ten years, which was included in the 2015 policy, has been eliminated.

There are also additional progressive measures in the policy, but without clarity on these provisions, their modes of execution, and a defined framework, it is unlikely that they would have any impact.

Measures to track progress in achieving targets:

While the high capacity expansion targets will help solar, the strategy should also include clear methods for achieving this goal. This is especially true given earlier policy aims that were not met (achieving just 20% out of the previous target of 7500 MW10 ). To provide clarity on the trend for such additions, the policy may have established yearly targets. Given the shortcomings of the previous policy, the present policy may favor a regular feedback mechanism from project owners/developers, regular meetings and progress monitoring by MEDA, the formation of a steering committee to resolve difficulties, and so on.

However, little progress has been reported in the public domain on these fronts. As a result, this may be yet another policy that looks good on paper but fails to deliver in practice. In addition to these policy provisions, RPO compliance will be ensured through regulatory actions. Targets can be carried forward according to a regulatory mechanism. This one-year exception clause should not become the standard and should only be used in extraordinary circumstances.

Obtaining stipulated environmental clearances

The policy requires solar projects to acquire a NOC (no objection certificate) from the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), as well as a NOC from the Department of Geology and Mining if the project is to be located in a mineral-rich district. The old policy did not include this. However, it has to be seen whether this is a positive step forward for socio-environmental governance or simply another administrative stumbling block. Furthermore, the mechanism for acquiring this clearance, as well as the consequences of failing to do so, are unclear.

Implementing provisions related to long term open access

The policy encourages developers to provide long-term open access (LTOA) to large-scale solar projects (for a minimum of 10 years) to make the projects financially feasible. In Maharashtra, the share of LTOA in total OA power consumption is low. For example, just 5 MUs were consumed under LTOA in 2018-19, out of a total of 4073 MUs consumed by OA consumers in the state. As a result, the provision should give long-term predictability to both DISCOMs (in terms of demand) and generators (in terms of revenue).

The responsibility for determining this time restriction has been delegated to MERC, which may decide otherwise. There have been no proceedings before the MERC to discuss this clause. As a result, the project owner does not have long-term certainty, as was intended by this provision in the first place.

Let us take a quick look at some welcoming provisions that can be reproduced in other states now that we’ve examined a few progressive laws that require careful examination. For starters, it guarantees policy certainty for four years. Second, the policy establishes a clear transition for projects that are currently being implemented under the old policy11, ensuring continuity and predictability between the two policies. Projects that are registered by April 202112 and commissioned by December 30th, 2021 are eligible for the prior policy’s benefits. A single-window website will also be created to obtain permits, approvals, and consents from multiple administrative departments.

This will help to reduce the time it takes to obtain the necessary approvals from multiple departments, making them more accountable and facilitating smoother inter-departmental communication. In addition, the policy addresses land availability provisions, describing various approaches for procuring private and public land. It also includes measures that enable the development of projects on seasonal partially submerged regions. In addition, solar water-supply projects can be erected in both urban and rural locations, reducing local government reliance on DISCOM electricity and moving load to daytime.

Furthermore, Maharashtra’s policy is currently available in the vernacular language, which facilitates access. Nonetheless, an additional English version of the policy would help with improved outreach to investors and other countries in the future.

How Can We Help?

Hope this information about “How Much Potential Does Maharashtra has For Solar Businesses & Why?” helps you.
If you are planning to start a solar business or install a solar solution, you can connect with Ornate Solar to get the best assistance with the best prices for solar panels and inverters. We are the official partner of Canadian Solar panels & Renewsys solar panels in India. We are also the official distributor of SolarEdge inverters with DC optimizers, Enphase microinverters, Fronius On-Grid Inverters, and Havells solar inverters in India.

For more information, please give us a call at 011 4353 6666.

kamini ornate

About The Author

Kamini Gupta is the Content Developer at Ornate Solar. She is a solar enthusiast and has worked with several well-known solar brands and experts in India. She is also a poet and a storyteller and has performed in many open mics events.

kamini ornate

About The Author

Kamini Gupta is the Content Developer at Ornate Solar. She is a solar enthusiast and has worked with several well-known solar brands and experts in India. She is also a poet and a storyteller and has performed in many open mics events.